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While AR is said to be the next big thing in the technology space, Google is now reportedly shutting down its ambitious Augmented Reality (AR) platform "Tango" built specifically for smartphones. The company has said that it will drop the platform from March 1, 2018.
The announcement seems unfortunate but the company's move comes as it is shifting its focus to a new software development kit (SDK) called "ARCore" that brings the AR experience closer to Android users.
"We're turning down support for Tango on March 1, 2018. Thank you to our incredible community of developers who made such progress with Tango over the last three years. We look forward to continuing the journey with you on ARCore," the Google Tango team tweeted.
We’re turning down support for Tango on March 1, 2018. Thank you to our incredible community of developers who made such progress with Tango over the last three years. We look forward to continuing the journey with you on ARCore. https://t.co/aYiSUkgyie— Tango (@projecttango) December 15, 2017
"Google is continuing AR development with ARCore, a new platform designed for building augmented reality apps for a broad range of devices without the requirement for specialized hardware," the company said.
"Project Tango" was first introduced in 2014. The platform basically uses computer vision to enable mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to detect their position relative to the world around them without using GPS or other external signals. Further, this allows developers to create user experiences that include indoor navigation, 3D mapping, physical space measurement, environmental recognition, AR and windows into a virtual world.
The company had partnered with Lenovo and Asus to launch consumer phone based on Tango. Right now commercial phones that support Tango are Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and Asus Zenfone AR.
Meanwhile, Google "ARCore" is now available for developers to experiment with. "ARCore" is scalable across the Android ecosystem as it doesn't require any additional hardware. The new AR platform has been rolled out to Google Pixel and Samsung S8 which run on Android 7.0 Nougat and above.
Google is working with manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei, LG, ASUS and other major smartphone makers for quality and performance checks.
"ARCore", which works with 'Java/OpenGL', 'Unity' and 'Unreal' technologies focuses on three features -- motion tracking, environmental understanding, and light estimation.
Apple has already unveiled its "ARKit" platform focusing on AR applications, to allow developers to build apps that could place virtual content on top of real-world scenes. We should be seeing some more developments in this space.
Inputs from IANS